Next time you're caught cheating in school, just blame hormones.
Hey everyone, Amy here on DNews.
Pretty much everyone has cheated on a test at some point in their lives.
And while it's generally frowned upon and I don't condone it, peeking at the names of the Great Lakes on a geography test when you're six years old doesn't mean you're going to grow up to be a horrible adult.
Some early psychological research into why kids cheat landed on moral development.
As we age, we become less egotistical and more moral, drawing us away from doing something we know is wrong.
Other studies have suggested cheating is the result of cost-benefit analysis:
if the reward for cheating is greater than the outcome of getting caught, kids will take the risk.
In either case, these rationales point to cheating as a subconscious decision.
But what if it's not a decision at all? New research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology
says that those who cheat on tests do so because of hormones. Extra testosterone gives us the
courage to cheat, and extra cortisol gives us the motivation.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin asked a group of people to take a math
test and grade it themselves, knowing that the more questions they answered correctly
would earn them more money.
They also took saliva samples before and after the test.
The results showed that people with elevated levels of testosterone and cortisol were more likely to lie about the number of
questions they got right.
Testosterone decreases fear of punishment and increases sensitivity to reward so that would explain why some cheated.
Elevated cortisol, meanwhile, is linked to a state of chronic
stress that can be almost debilitating, so that could be a powerful motivator in deciding to cheat.
Those who cheated also showed lowered levels of cortisol after the test, consistent with
a reduction of emotional stress you might expect from having successfully cheated on a test.
So that's good? Not really. The reduction of stress triggered a powerful stimulation
in the reward centre of the brain, effectively reinforcing unethical behaviour.
The flip side is that people with lower levels of both testosterone and cortisol could be less prone to this unethical behavior.
But it's not like parents could remove testosterone from their children for the sake of better
test-taking behavior! Instead, there are ways to break that cycle of hormonal response
reinforcing cheating. Research cited in the same study says that individuals rewarded
in a group are less susceptible to the effects of testosterone on performance, and those
who engage in stress-reducing activities like yoga were less moved to cheat due to
lower cortisol levels.
So if you want to raise an ethical student, group yoga might help! At least, that's
my own thought, and if you're curious to know more of my own thoughts on other topics,
namely space, be sure to check out my personal channel, Vintage Space.
the starter cartridge in the Titan II burned for only about a second, and it came with this very distinctive noise that
now that I'm gonna make it right here, you're definitely gonna hear it in the launch.
It kinda sounds like a "bwooooop"
So, be honest, did you guys ever cheat on a test in grade school? Let us know in the comments below and don't forget to subscribe for more DNews everyday of the week!